For the last several games the New York Red Bulls have been conceding early goals within the first fifteen minutes of the match, and many have been wondering when going down early would finally start costing them three points at home.
But whenever that has happened recently the Red Bulls have always found something to get on the scoreboard and take the full three points at home. The win at home on Saturday against the Columbus Crew is one example and the time the Portland Timbers took a two goal early in that first half, the Red Bulls have found a way to equalize late in the first and the match winner in the second.
But this time around for the home side, that problem finally bit them in the rear end. This time against the top of the eastern conference table leaders Sporting Kansas City, the Red Bulls dug their own hole and never got out of it.
Another early goal was allowed in the 12th minute on a free kick just 22yds away from the net Graham Zusi smacks the free kick off the crossbar and the rebound comes back, but Sporting Kansas City was able to get the rebound when Matt Besler finds C.J. Sapong and converts for the first of the match.
But seven minutes later on a corner kick it would be a two goal lead and Sporting wouldn’t look back. Zusi at the far side delivers the ball and an un-marked Kei Kamara who has fantastic leaping ability would out jump Wilman Conde and heads it in past Bill Gaudette inside the far post.
After all of that it would just be defend, defend and defend. The Red Bulls would create some better chances in the second half, but it looked like there was a force field surrounding Jimmy Nielsen as he never had to make a really tough save.
There were at times in the second half that you thought they were going to break thru, but in the end the only moral victory was getting three shots on goal while in a match and a half they mustered nothing against this well oiled machine in Sporting Kansas City.
“Poor marking on two set-plays in the beginning, too many lost fifty-fifty’s when you play against Kansas, too many unforced errors.” Said Head Coach Hans Backe, “It’s a tough one to go down like that, but it was a better second half. We created a decent number of chances but couldn’t really hurt them. They were the better team today.”
And what did Peter Vermes do to get his players ready for a big match? Execute a perfect game plan. “The way I look at it is, we came from the opening whistle, we came here to play. We weren’t going to sit and drop 11 guys in a 30 yard space and just try to play that way. We talked about right from the get go trying to disrupt their rhythm. I think the two goals are well-deserved.”
The biggest game on the Red Bulls schedule and a chance to take over first place in the east has now been taken away from another poor start and a poor performance in the first half. This problem needs to be fixed and fast. That’s why a road trip to New England is next on the list.